College is all about the food, the friends and the (lack of) funds. So when Payton, one of my close friends, started working at True Foods Kitchen and received an employee discount, we all knew where to party last Friday night!
I've written about True Foods Kitchen before. It's a restaurant dedicated to healthy, fresh and organic eating - without sacrificing any of the flavor! My first two trips, I stuck to my steady date: the sea bass tacos.
This time, though? Maybe it was the skintight dress that was the opposite of my usual wear - we figured no girl's night would be complete without a little glam. Or, maybe it was my friends' urging to go a little (celiac friendly) wild for the night. Either way, I walked in knowing it was going to be a fun (and delicious) night.
When we arrived, True Foods wasn't too packed but it only got crazier as the clock ticked away. Luckily, we reserved a booth in the back. The four of us - Payton, my roomie, Natalie and I - hadn't been together in months and we had a lot to talk about! Including all the mouthwatering choices on the menu. Even though I'm gluten free, I still had tons to choose from - including pizza, tacos, salads, burgers and fish dishes.
In the end, at my friends' urging that a "turkey burger" was too boring, I picked the Bison burger on a gluten free bun with a sweet potato hash and kale salad on the side. To satisfy our starving stomaches while we waited, we split the Kale-Gaucamole dip appetizer. It usually comes with crackers, but we replaced them with sliced vegetables to make it gluten free (now that's true love!).
The dip was the best I've ever tasted - creamy chunks of avocado mixed with hearty kale, and hits of pink grapefruit, cilantro, poblano and cojita cheese (a little bit of dairy is sometimes worth it for me!). Paired with slices of raw zucchini, cucumber, carrots, and other root vegetables, it disappeared in seconds. I've even been devouring my own copy-cat version for a new snack this week!
And the leftover dip paired perfectly with our main dishes. The one aspect of this visit that didn't thrill me was the service. While ordering, my waitress was very knowledgeable about celiac and cross contamination. As customers flooded in, though, she disappeared. That only became a problem when I received my dish: my burger's bun looked so "normal" I waited until I could ensure it was gluten free. As soon as I heard her ok, I dug in!
And landed straight in GF foodie heaven. The bison was cooked perfectly medium well, moist without any raw spots. I'd never had bison before and I'd describe it as a lighter beef with a slightly more mild taste.
And the bun? I don't order gluten free bread often, and when I do, it better deliver. True Foods Kitchen did for sure! The bread boasted a fluffy middle, crispy edges and "whole grain" taste. I'm guessing it was an Udis bun upgraded by a few minutes of toasting. The avocado, umami, and watercress finished off my burger with a delicious creamy/crunchy combo.
The sides, though, deserve their own paragraph! As I've mentioned in sweet potato salmon sliders recipe, my taste buds elope with sweet taters at least once a week. The hash fulfilled my craving perfectly! The potatoes were soft but not mushy, accented by sliced onion. The kale salad served as a delectable palate cleanser between my meal's heavier components. They massaged it with oil until tender and topped it with more umami. It didn't last long.
Perhaps the hardest part about celiac is its isolating effects - socializing can be difficult when you can't eat any of the food! Our dinner ended up spanning over two hours as we indulged not only in food, but also in laughter, stories and prayer.
And even though my finicky stomach later declared its dairy disapproval, I don't regret any of last Friday night. Opportunities like a delicious True Foods Kitchen dinner with the girls don't land on my plate every week. So I savored every bite.
Have you ever eaten at True Foods? How do you deal with socializing and celiac? Comment below!